A garden is a wonderful playground for children of all ages. There’s so much to look at like different leaf-shapes, stuff to mess around with like squidgy soil and lots to learn, like how big plants grow from tiny seeds. Children’s gardening activities are all about learning and fun and there are lots of projects you can do with them that they’ll love.
Whether you’re working with a window box or a whole allotment, growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers is a great way of getting kids involved in the garden. Let them choose their favourites or pick ingredients for a specific recipe, for instance a pizza garden might include tomatoes, onions, peppers, basil and oregano.
Gardens are a great place for little ones to learn about wildlife, from frogs and newts to birds, beetles and bugs. Make a bird feeder out of a plastic bottle or a hedgehog house out of an old crate to help animals feel at home or just let a corner of the lawn keep growing and scatter some wildflower seeds to create a haven for insects, birds and small mammals.
Ponds and bird baths are also a great way of attracting more wildlife to the garden. Little ones will love looking for tracks, feathers and other creature clues like snail trails, while older kids can make creepy-crawlie bingo cards then see who spots them all first.
As well as plants and wildlife, the garden’s a great place to learn about weather and the environment. Try these simple ideas to get kids of all ages interested in the outdoors. Hang a garden thermometer on a wall somewhere so they can see it and encourage them to look at how the garden changes on warm and cold days. Then add to your home-made weather station with a rain gauge made out of a plastic bottle and a colourful pinwheel planted in a flower pot or bed.
Why not have a sunflower growing competition? Varieties like ‘Russian giant’ can grow to nearly 10 feet tall! Sunflowers are always a favourite with children, probably because, when they grow to their full height, they have a very distinctive and very big flower that looks a bit like a face! They’re easy to sow, all that’s needed is a few seeds sprinkled from a tiny hand into a pot full of compost or the soil of a sunny garden spot.